About number seven, he is fluent in seven languages – English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi. His red coloured mobile phone has a number that ends in 007. The number plate of his car reads 7777. He wears a shirt with seven buttons in that. He didn’t stop there – he added one more obsession that is of red and white colour.
He started red and white combination just for the promotion of his business in 1980. ‘It was nothing but a publicity stunt to promote my new business – a real estate agency named Sevenraj Estate Agency,’ he laughs. ‘Eventually people started noticing me and recognising me by my outfit,’ Sevenraj added. ‘Initially, I didn’t realise that I was getting obsessed; I was just enjoying it. But once I added red shoes to my collection, I started filling my wardrobe with red and white shirts.
From that time I wanted everything red and white,’ he said. His house Red and white combination works for him- it opens with the red and white gate of his red and white painted house in Bangalore, the living room has a red and white sofa and armchairs. The table is red and white, the drapes in red and white checks, except for the television, fan, flower pot, windows, frames and everything is in shades of red and white. Severnraj’s wife Pushpa, who wears red and white sari, said: “I known him from our childhood- he would always be in white clothes. But when he started his business, he added red. I thought it was weird, even irritating.
But when he convinced me I look good in red and white sari, I started enjoying the colour combination.” Sevenraj and Pushpa decorated their house with these two colours only, a red blender in her red and white kitchen, Pushpa says they are constantly looking for products in the two colours to add to their collection. From dining table mats to lighting fixtures, every single thing in the house is in red or white including the toothpaste.
He got named in Limca book of records for his obsessions. Does Pushpa feel embarrassed with his obsessions? “No, nothing like that. I also enjoy the same, I like his company always and I have become a part of this. It is not an obsession for me it has become a daily routine.”
In 2000, a life-changing experience motivated Varsha Ved to work for visually challenged. She was working as an accountant for more than 15 years with a private firm. “I got infected with conjunctivitis which got cured after initial treatment. I was alright after few days but caught with another related infection,” said Varsha, who was 40 that time. This infection spread fast and affected her cornea adversely. She lost almost 90 percent of her vision, within few days of this infection. Doctors advised her to go for eye transplantation, but she wasn’t aware of transplantation at that time. “That was the first time when I heard about eye transplants. I was really nervous although the doctors had explained the whole process. But my family supported me and gave me the courage to get the surgery done,” she said. Varsha’s family registered her name with Eye Bank Coordination & Research Centre (EBCRC) in Parel, but due to lack of availability she had to wait for two years. Finally, she was called for an eye transplant and she regained vision in one eye. One year later, she called for another surgery, and in 2003, and regained her vision partially.
“Those two years when I was waiting for a donor made me realise how difficult life becomes for people who cannot see. I had to face several troubles at work and my family life was disrupted too. That was when I thought that I should not let this new life go to waste; that I should use it to help other people,” said Varsha Ved. Varsha decided not to go back to her old profession of being an accountant, and started working with the eye bank in Parel, to spread awareness about eye donations. In 2004, she started working with Rajawadi Hospital for donation programmes carried out by EBCRC. Her job involves counselling people and to encourage them to donate their eyes.
Journey so far
She is 56 years old today, but her determination to inspire people has not changed. She visits one hospital to other-organises seminars, meets people and inspire them for eye donation. “I shared my own experience to help them understand why they should donate their eyes. It gives me immense satisfaction every time someone donates eyes and someone gains vision. It feels like I am paying the debt of the person who donated eyes for me. In a seminar at Rajawadi Hospital about 200 people filled up forms for eye donation.” From that point onwards, Varsha decided to dedicate her life to the cause of eye donations. Till today, she has encouraged over 1,000 people to donate their eyes. In 2014, she started working with four hospitals where she now encourages not just patients, but also the doctors, nurses and the entire hospital staff to donate their eyes.
She believes that working for a cause, for someone’s life is biggest achievement for her, “While doing this work, I closely witnessed the pain and problems that people in the world have to face on a daily basis. And it has changed my entire approach and thinking towards work. I realised that God has given us a lot. We should be satisfied with what we have and should work for social causes. My kids were 10-12 years old at that time. They used to come with me to the hospital and they also saw the struggles of people. Today, instead of chasing personal gains, they try and work for social welfare and that makes me happy. That is all my achievement,” she said. There are four hospitals where she remains connected 24×7 via phone and through emails. Whenever any death is reported, she goes and persuades the family for donation and make then follow the procedure. She appeals their family members to donate their eyes and more often than not she is successful. She also encourage people in her locality to take this brave step. One can reach Varsha Ved by writing her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org